Stockett returns home to discuss "The Help" - - Jackson, MS

Stockett returns home to discuss "The Help"

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By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Kathryn Stockett was born and raised in Jackson. Her family owned Stockett Stables off I-55 north near Pearl Street, where a big car dealership now sits.

"It was a pretty unique situation to have riding stables in the middle of town. But everyone who was from Jackson or grew up in Jackson knew my grandfather, knew our family," she says.

That's why her novel, The Help, takes place in Jackson. But she steps back in time to 1962, to write about a young woman named Skeeter who has lived with black maids most of her life, and never thought twice about it until she returned from college.

"The help have to keep a separate cup, separate plate, separate cupboard," she says.  "They didn't even make minimum wage.  But for the first time in Skeeter's life, it starts to bother her."

Skeeter teams up with some of "the help". Read the novel to find out what happens next.

It's Stockett's first novel. And as she signs copies at the Eudora Welty Library on Wednesday, she tells us she never expected anyone to read it except her own mother.

But the writing process came naturally. "I think if you're a writer you don't have a lot of choice. It's what you do, you'll go crazy if you don't do it," she says.

The book has been made into a screenplay written by her childhood friend, Tate Taylor.  Allison Janney has already been cast as Mother. Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks will produce the film.

It's a dream come true for Stockett, who will never forget where she came from.

"Mississippi is like my mother. I can say all I want about her, but God help the person who speaks an ill word about her around me," she jokes as she addresses a crowd at the library.

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